Monday, August 12, 2013

Clooney Goes Off Script in Hollywood Business Battle

In early August 2013, hedge fund billionaire Daniel Loeb decided to weigh in on Sony’s summer movie decisions. Loeb heads up Third Point Capital, a hedge fund that holds a 7 percent ownership interest in Sony. Two recent box-office bombs, “After Earth” and “White House Down,” have prompted Loeb to let loose with some pointed barbs about the film studio’s performance.

The billionaire investor strongly criticized Sony in his quarterly letter for the “poorly managed” film division, citing “high salaries for underperforming senior executives.”

Actor-filmmaker George Clooney jumped into the fray by blasting Loeb: "[Loeb] calls himself an activist investor, and I would call him a carpetbagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles," Clooney told Deadline. “A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.” According to Clooney, whose production company is working with Sony on the actor’s upcoming Oscar-seeking film, "The Monuments Men," Loeb is attempting to frighten studio execs into sticking with low risk, non-innovative film fare. [more...]

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